Research in the lab centers on microbial ecology, microbial diversity and nutrient cycling processes in streams and soils. Main goals include the integration of methods on both microbial and ecosystem scales, while addressing questions in managed and 'natural' systems within the context of disturbance and global change.
Ongoing research themes include understanding how grassland management (fire, grazing, fertilization) and drought legacies affect soil microbial community structure and C and N cycling functions, the microbial mechanisms underlying linked C and N biogeochemistry, concurrent development of soil organic matter and microbial communities on fresh parent material (volcanic ash), the hydrologic and nutrient conditions that affect stream microbial diversity and function, and the role of the microbiome in mediating vertebrate development and health. See our "People" and "Projects" pages for more detail.
If you are interested in learning more, get in touch! We are looking for a new student to join the lab, applications due 15 Dec 2017.
We welcome and value perspectives that are outside our individual ranges of familiarity.
We learn from one another, and we know more together.
The belowground plots (BGP) experiment at Konza Prairie: factorial burning and N fertilization treatments since 1986. Guess which plots haven't been burned for 30 years!
A few recent notables:
Looking forward to 2018!
9 Nov 2017 -
Priscilla presented her new data on "Impacts of prairie land management on nitrous oxide production" at the KSU Research and the State Forum. Should our state legislators learn about rangeland greenhouse gas emission? Good question.
30 Oct 2017 -
Scouting trip for aquatic sites in Western Kansas with Dr. Burgin and Dr. Sullivan from KU and Dr. Mehl from the Nature Conservancy. Reminiscent of my PhD work in New Mexico, classic intermittent streams in a semi-arid landscape: The Smoky Valley River near Oakley and near Cedar Bluff Reservoir.
27 Oct 2017 -
Great to visit University of Illinois-Champaign NRES, connect with colleagues, share some new research findings, interact with some promising students, and learn about a new place.
14 Oct 2017 -
Great Plains Limnology Meeting in Columbia, MO: Wonderful to connect and reconnect with local aquatic ecologists, and to be reminded of the importance of water quality in the Midwest US to global environmental health! Janaye did a great job presenting her first poster, discussing how biofilm enzyme activities indicate water quality.
5 Oct 2017 -
Priscilla won "best slides" for her presentation on her graduate research at our EEB Graduate Students on Parade event! Way to go!
4 Oct 2017 -
A new NSF-EPSCoR Track 1 award will support research on microbiomes in aquatic, plant and soil habitats across the state of Kansas - Our "MAPS" project begins...
23 Sept 2017-
Priscilla collected her last soil sampling for nitrification/denitrifcation potentials and nitrifier/denitrifier diversity measurement! A solid season of fieldwork is complete.
30 Aug 2017 -
Kasatochi fieldwork success for another year. It's the 9th year post-volcanic eruption: even here, there is life (pics 1, 2).
7-10 Aug 2017 -
ESA was great, a lot of really exciting research across a breadth of scales. Priscilla presented her first poster (thanks for sharing)!
26 July 2017 -
A productive collaboration: Robin's frog development model shows that gut microbiome structure and developmental trajectory is affected by egg inoculum (Integrative and Comparative Biology).
24 July 2017 -
CC defended her Master's Thesis, and of course did a great job! Those 2 years sure went fast, I learned a lot too, incuding that I should take more pictures with my students! Research highlights: cessation of burning increases sensitivity of soil prokaryotes to N addition; fungal communities under woody-encroached prairie still resemble prairie, not forest; seasonal community turnover of native prairie soil microbial communities is undetectable at our site.
11 July 2017 -
Talked to a group of
restoration managers from across the Great Plains; really interesting to think about the prairie from different perspectives, thanks Grassland Restoration Network.
1 July 2017 -
Here is a unique new book on an understudied portion of many landscapes: Intermittent and Ephemeral Streams - including a chapter on microbial diversity.
19 May 2017 -
New bison calves on the prairie and a new behavioral observation (new to me): cows defending the young calves in a circle of protection. Normally these animals are totally unconcerned when a vehicle stops along the access road.
14 April 2017 -
The graduate students like me; I think it's because they know I like them too. (Recieved the 2017 Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award from the KSU Biology Graduate Student Association.)
13 April 2017 -
Janaye was awarded a scholarship from the College of Arts & Sciences for her own summer research project on stream biofilm function in streams with contrasting water quality (pic).
25 April 2017 -
Erica Jacquay defended her Master's Thesis in Animal Sciences: Foal gut microbiome develops quickly from birth to resemble the parental mare microbiome, but is not affected by the stress of weaning.
13 March 2017 -
The Wichita State Department of Biological Sciences is a smart and friendly group! Nice to meet more Kansans.
28 Feb 2017 -
Another LTER network-level synthesis, now published in Global Change Biology: Stream leaf litter decomposition will increase with temperature, but less sensitively than predicted by metabolic theory.
24-26 Feb 2017 -
KNZ LTER site synthesis meeting: Boy, do we have a lot of data, that we can still learn from. The more, the merrier!
16 Nov 2016 -
CC's Science on Tap was packed and fun! Of course, how could soil biodiversity not be fun, especially with CC's soil aggregate model!
11 Oct 2016 -
International LTER Open Science Meeting: A pleasure to participate and interact with ecologists from around the globe
16 Sept 2016 -
Biology 890 Microbial Diversity - a fun day sampling across Konza Prairie for our student-driven research project (pics 1, 2)
27 Aug 2016 -
Great field help and amazing weather makes for a record setting Kasatochi (& Koniuji!) expedition (pics 1, 2, 3)
9 Aug 2016 -
Special session at ESA on Microbial Ecology at the Terrestrial-Aquatic Interface highlighted lots of exciting research
2 Aug 2016 -
Shared water use in an arid-land watershed promotes nutrient retention, reduces downstream pollution (Environmental Science & Technology)
29 July 2016 -
Successful and spectacular glacial-fed stream invertebrate, diatom and microbiome sampling, part of a collaborative 2016 UW-NPS biodiversity study in the Grand Teton National Park
3 June 2016 -
CC received a Missouri Mycological Society scholarship AND a Science Communication Fellowship at the Sunset Zoo
7 May 2016 -
KSU Division of Biology Most Promising Students: including Victoria (pic)
5 March 2016 -
Victoria's first poster at the Missouri Valley American Society for Microbiology meeting (pic)
1 Jan 2016 -
Happy New Year! Early bacterial community assembly post-disturbance is related to organic matter, not pH (Environmental Microbiology)
3 Nov 2015 -
Collaborative K-State geomicrobiology publication in press at Frontiers in Microbiology: Niche differentiation of methanogens in coalbeds
10 Sept 2015 -
A little local Alaskan research highlight: Adak, AK Eagle's Call (p. 3)
1 Sept 2015 -
A well organized and engaged group at the LTER All-Scientists Meeting Microbial Ecology workshop